Seal photographed on car returns to wild in Australia

The seal jumped on a car, causing minor damage Image copyright Tasmania Police
Image caption The seal jumped on a car, causing minor damage

A seal that was captured after straying into a suburban Australian neighbourhood has been returned to the wild.

The fur seal made global headlines when it was photographed on top of a car in Launceston, Tasmania, on Monday.

The large male, estimated to weigh 200kg (441lb), was first seen in the middle of a street.

The animal was tranquilised at the scene and has since been driven to a river and released.

Wildlife biologist Rachael Alderman, from the Marine Conservation Program, said the relocation happened without incident after the sedative wore off.

"It ended well apart from the poor person with the car," she told the BBC on Wednesday.

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Dubbed "Mr Lou-seal" by police, the mammal is believed to have travelled to Launceston - about 50km (31 miles) from the sea - through nearby waterways.

Dr Alderman said fur seals were spotted regularly in Tasmania at this time of year, which is breeding season.

"There's changes to hormones, so we do get a spike in these large males turning up in places that are a bit unusual," she said.

Image copyright Tasmania Police
Image caption Fur seals are spotted often in Tasmania

"I guess the thing that was not standard (this time) was a that it was on a car bonnet and the amount of media interest that it generated."

William Gregory, who was staying at the Launceston home, said the seal caused minor damage to the car.

"We got up and there was this great big seal on the roof of the car which is definitely not what you'd expect on Boxing Day," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"We'll replace the windscreen and pop a few dents out, they're just old cars so it doesn't really matter. It's worth it."

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